SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Stars did not want to lose. Not on a special night for the fans in pink.
Kelsey Plum had the best game of her young career as she led the Stars to a thrilling 87-80 win over the Seattle Storm in front of 5,859 fans at the AT&T Center on Saturday night, the team’s annual Breast Health Awareness Night.
The win was the third straight for the Stars overall and third win in their last four games. San Antonio started off strong as they shot 50 percent in the opening quarter and led 22-18 after 10 minutes.
San Antonio held a 56-38 lead with 6:36 to go in the third quarter, but Seattle inserted Sami Whitcomb, which sparked a 12-1 Storm run, cutting the San Antonio lead to just four after the third quarter.
A pair of 6-0 runs by both teams saw a three point lead for the Stars with just seconds remaining in regulation. A desperation three from Seattle’s Jewell Loyd forced overtime, but San Antonio outscored the Storm 15-8 in the extra period to grab the win.
“We got stops, we got baskets, great assists, and we didn’t drop our heads,” Stars coach Vickie Johnson said. “They got a lot of offensive boards and we missed some shots, but we still didn’t drop our heads. We fought as a team and we won as a team.”
Plum scored a career-high 23 points, including 5-of-8 from three point range. The rookie also had four assists, but none was bigger than her dime to Stars center Isabelle Harrison in overtime. Kayla McBride added 17, while both Alex Montgomery and Dearica Hamby each added 15.
Friday night saw Plum dished out a career-high 12 assists and 24 hours later she had the best scoring night of her career. In the last month, the No. 1 overall pick has averaged over 10 points per game, proving the process is paying off.
“I think it’s not unrealistic to expect this as the norm moving forward,” Plum said of her career night. “I know it takes time, especially for rookies coming into this league to find a rhythm but hopefully going forward this is what fans should expect.”
Coach Johnson has talked about the process all season long. The past three games have proved the process is paying off. The Stars not only out hustled their opponents, but they did it as one unit. The young San Antonio squad hung tough with three opponents that had beaten them badly earlier in the season.
“I would say it’s been kind of building up this whole season,” Stars forward Dearica Hamby said. “The season could be completely different if we had not been making mistakes. Not really using our youth as an excuse anymore, and just playing through that and playing through our mistakes and not hanging our head when something bad happens.”
The Storm were led by Breanna Stewart’s 32 points. Jewell Loyd added 16, including the game-tying three pointer to force overtime. Whitcomb added 11 for Seattle (10-15), who have lost three straight.
Seattle outscored the Stars 17-9 in the final quarter to force the extra period, but San Antonio allowed just eight points by the visitors in the final five minutes.
“We got off to a slow start, especially with defense,” Storm coach Jenny Boucek said. “I was proud of our comeback. We didn’t quit and we fought our way back. We put ourselves in position; we just didn’t take advantage of it down the stretch. We had opportunities but didn’t take advantage of them.”
- Game notes: San Antonio won their third straight game, marking their first three game winning streak since August 2014. Plum had her first 20-point game of her career, her pervious high was 16 points against Indiana.
Up next: The Stars are now 6-21 on the season and will return to the court on Thursday when they travel to Chicago to face the Sky at 7 p.m.